tv American Morning CNN September 20, 2010 6:00am-9:00am EDT
safety, a wildfire threatening more than 1,000 homes outside of salt lake city, hundreds of firefighters are on the scene there, including national guardsmen who are being blamed for setting the fire in the first place. some special forces are trained to go into deadly situations armed with high-powered weapons to track the enemy. we've got the unit just as skilled, trained to track storm clouds. rob marciano introduces us to these combat weatherman. and the a.m. fix block is up and running as it is every day. join the live conversation, go to cnn.com/amfix. it has been one bruising night on the island of bermuda. igor roared right past the coast overnight, missing direct landfall by just 40 miles. >> it's a large hurricane generating enormous waves. it's pummelling the island with powerful winds, driving rain, trees there are shredded, power lines are down. cnn is your hurricane headquarters, rob marciano is
here in new york. first, though, let's go to the scene, reynolds wolf live in elbow beach, bermuda. looks like not a good time there this morning. >> reporter: well, things are improving compared to last night where the brunt of the storm really came just to our west around 11:00 local time through midnight, really the worst of it. this storm, although it did not make a direct hit, you've got to remember that bermuda is a small area. and this storm when you include the outflow is nearly 1,000 miles wide. when you think about bermuda, it's not one island, but 138, and joined together is about the equivalent land mass of 1/3 of washington, d.c. very easy target for this immense hurricane. the effects we've had here, some tremendous waves that right along the coast. we've got video we took yesterday right around sun down. huge waves crashing onshore. that not only of course caused some major beach erosion, but at the same time, flooded some roadways right along the coast.
the heavy rain, that too was a factor. flooding, many people -- causing many people to go to shelters. 70 plus people heading to the shelters. when you compare it back to hurricane fabian in 2003, it's nearly seven or eight times the number of people that went to those shelters. here's the good news. despite power being out for a good part of the island, road closures, no major injuries were sustained. that is excellent news. they do expect that as the storm contains to chug its way to the north, conditions will gradually improve. but then the cleanup begins. and we've had widespread reports of roof damage, a lot of windows broken, and again, a lot of tree damage as you can imagine on many side streets. but again, it's just going to be a step-by-step process as we go into the afternoon into tomorrow. let's kick it back to you in new york. >> how much longer is the heavy wind expected to be blowing there in bermuda? >> reporter: john, i'll tell
you. i think for the time being, we're going to be dealing with maybe an occasional hurricane-force gust wind to the northern half of the island. but mainly tropical storm-force winds. and that's basically from about 73 to around 39 miles per hour. we could be dealing with that into the afternoon maybe the early evening, but it does appear that this storm is going to accelerate as it goes north. it's going to get caught up in a trough. and the farther away it goes, the weaker the winds will become. john? >> reynolds wolf for us this morning in elbow beach, bermuda. thanks. we can say this because no one was hurt down there, but there's something starkly beautiful about the power of mother nature coming in with all of that wrath. i wouldn't want to be out in it, and good for -- >> those storms are amazing things. no question about it. and thankfully a lot of the construction in bermuda unlike other islands, very, very strong. most things are built to code
there. the amount of damage sustained should hopefully be minimal. >> that's the key, because you can't stop the storms from coming. rob marciano has been keeping an eye on igor throughout this morning. is any other place in harm's way? >> newfoundland, canada. so as this storm begins to accelerate, folks in canada are going to have to deal with it, as well. i think the big story with this storm is how big it was. and because of the actual size of this thing, they had tropical storm-force and hurricane-force winds in such a long duration just that constant battering of the island is where you're seeing most of that damage. but as john pointed out, the building codes are pretty strict. but about half the people at one point, at least, without power. all right. there you see the storm now. it's about 135 miles to the north of bermuda right now, and it is accelerating north/northeast at 20 miles an hour. it is still a hurricane with category one strength. and this is the forecast track. it'll probably scoot the
coastline of newfoundland, a category one storm, and then eventually getting into extra tropical -- more like an atlantic type of storm with winds, though, that tropical storm force winds go out over 300 miles from the center. as reynolds pointed out, they'll be dealing with this probably through the evening, as well. we'll talk more about what else is going on with tropics later on in the program. >> seems like we've been talking about igor for a couple of weeks. >> he's been spinning around for quite some time. luckily he missed the u.s. it could have been a lot worse. >> there's another one out there, right? >> off the coast of africa. and we're also getting to the time of year, guys, where things can pop just off the coastline of the u.s. at any time. we have to keep an eye on things. >> good to have you on the job this morning, rob. a utah mountainside is covered in flames. it's burning just outside of salt lake city. national guard soldiers were training when a spark from one
of the rounds from a rifle ignited dry brush. they said they got on it right away, but unfortunately didn't have enough equipment to contain. there was a lot of wind that whipped up the flames. firefighters from surrounding counties have been called to the scene. those strong winds continuing today. people worried about their homes might be in harm's way. this is what one of our i-reporters captured for us. >> we're getting this view from riverton, utah. we are less than three miles away from the mountain. which a fire has just crested. there is a haze over the whole valley. >> not much more frightening than seeing that fire crest the ridge line and start marching its way down the hill line towards those homes. coming up next hour, we're going to talk with the mayor. if you've got pictures, send them into us, cnn.com/ireport.
and some success under the sea. bp says it has permanently capped the oil well in the gulf of mexico five months after an explosion sparked the worst ever oil spill in the u.s. tests have confirmed the cement seal is holding so far. more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the gulf. at 7:30 eastern, we will talk to national incident commander thad allen about what lies ahead for the gulf. in munich, they're celebrating the 200th anniversary of oktoberfest. there are 14 beer tents spread out over the area of about 60 soccer fields, close to 2,000 toilets to handle all that beer once it's processed. for the first time, by the way, smoking is banned during the 17-day-long beer festival. coming up, she's the new face of the tea party movement, but christine o'donnell may have
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the tea leaves. >> the rise to the tea party movement which carried krchriste o'donnell to victory recently is raising the prospects of a powerful political alliance that was on display this weekend at the values voters summit. our jim acosta is following that for us. he's live for us from washington. quite a weekend they had, jim. >> that's true, john and candy. and you know at a lot of these summits they have these straw polls. they made the president for 2012 in a straw poll held at this year's summit over the weekend. it was indiana republican mike pence, not only a favorite of the religious right, but a tea party activist too. but he's not the only politician liked by these two movements which, incidentally are finding they have a lot in common. >> reporter: for conservatives, it could be a match made in political heaven. the nation's growing tea party movement joining forces with the religious right. >> would you like to alter your congress?
>> reporter: in years past, the values voter summit staged this weekend in washington was a haven for social conservatives. but the speaker scheduled this year was packed with tea party rock stars. that say the summit's organizers was no accident. >> i think there's a natural alliance between social conservative voters and the tea party voters. in fact, i think if you were to poll people here, 99% of them have been to a tea party event. >> reporter: such an alliance would combine as value voters who helped george w. bush win two terms with the nation's fastest growing political government. >> we've seen since the days of ronald reagan that when we are united around a commitment of fiscal discipline, a strong national defense, and traditional moral values. that's when we experience the most success and we have the most impact on the life of the nation. >> reporter: conservatives point to delaware's republican nominee christine o'donnell as the perfect hybrid for both
movements. embraced by the tea party and social conservatives. >> they call us whacky, they call us wing nuts. we call us we, the people. >> reporter: but o'donnell will have to explain to values voters what she meant when she said in 1999 she experimented with witchcraft. >> i dabbled into witchcraft, i didn't join a coven. >> reporter: but there are some tea partiers who aren't ready to join forces. they insist it's about getting the nation's fiscal house in order. >> we are focused completely on the fiscal aspect of the economy. we're not focused on the social issues. >> reporter: others at the summit argued tea partiers and fiscal consecutives were already a natural fit. take this mother and daughter. >> i lose sleep over it at night sometimes. i really do. >> you leave sleep over the national debt? >> yes, i'm serious. i really do. >> reporter: her mother fay says she's a born again christian who
doesn't believe that president obama is honest about s own faith. >> i'm a christian. he touts all the time, but when you get down to his actions, he elevates islam, and he suppresses christianity. if you want to say death to america, vote democrat. >> you really believe that? >> absolutely. >> by the way, we should point out the president and his family went to church over the weekend, a christian church. and a question in the end is not whether these two movements are joining forces. in many ways they have, but many in the tea party have also proven over the last year and a half that they are also religious conservatives. the real question at this point is whether they can win. and john and candy, one thing i wanted to point out to show you some of the synergy between these two movements, i picked up this bumper sticker over the weekend at the summit. and it says please don't tell obama what comes after a trillion. a fiscal message there.
but this is from a family research council. so the family research council focusing on the deficit. >> they're getting on the fiscal conservative side of things. >> exactly. >> john, is there any uneasiness -- but did you sense any uneasiness at all? some of these tea party folks really have stuck on the economic issues. and now you're bringing in something that is way controversial. was there any uneasiness at all in that kind of alliance that they're trying to put together? >> you know, the only unease that i picked up on, candy, was from amy cramer from the tea party success. and i went after her over and over and over again about this issue about whether they're joining forces. and she said we're focused on the government issues. but everyone at that summit were enthusiastic about the prospect of these forces coming together for the upcoming elections in the fall and looking on to 2012.
and you only had to look at the folks at the conference over the weekend to see that they really are sort of one in the same. jim demint, michelle bachmann, liked by both sides. it makes a lot of sense politically. >> jim, thanks. >> you bet. you probably have not been counting, so we did it for you. there are five female candidates for senate in this election cycle from the republican party. at 6:40 eastern, we will talk about the gop getting in touch with its feminine side, with republican strategist leslie sanchez, and kiki murphy. and coming up at 7:40 eastern, we'll talk with indiana republican mike pence who was the winner at the values voters summit about whether or not there can be an alliance between the tea party and christian conservatives. the furious debate over extending the bush tax cuts. the fate of your bank account is in the hands of congress. will they or won't they? we'll have a break down of the
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we have 110 days until the bush tax cuts expire. the debate on whether to extend them has consumed capitol hill, but the strongest impact will be felt in the bank accounts of millions of americans. >> we're minding your business this morning and cnn's paul lamonica is with us. president obama suggesting that the tax cuts should expire for the richest americans, stay in place for middle-income americans. but there are some economists and other analysts saying, hmm, maybe that's not such a good idea. what are people saying? >> yeah, we have a survey of
leading economists right now and 18 of those that we surveyed said they thought the number one priority for washington right now should be extending the tax cuts for everybody. so let's take a family of four, $75,000 a year. what does it mean for them? >> yeah, according to tax policy center estimates, it's about $2,600 more in federal taxes they'd probably be paying. and pretty much for everyone what you'd wind up having -- you'd have taxes would go back to the 2001 levels before the bush tax cuts came into effect. so everyone would feel some sort of pinch if there is no action in congress and they all expire. >> $2,600 for a family of $75,000. that's a lot of money. >> that is definitely a lot of money. and that's why many economists are worried what will happen if there is no action in washington. the economy's just so fragile right now. any little bit of extra income for anyone really can help. >> so what does happen if there's no action come january 1st? where will we be?
>> you'll wind up going to, everyone will have higher taxes, go back to revert to the pre-bush tax cut levels of 2001. so a lot of people would feel a bit of a pinch if that happens. >> and let's just say just to try to explain this. this is if you take money out of people's income, the problem is, as i understand it, then they don't spend money on consumer goods, which means that businesses don't hire because they're not selling as much. >> exactly. it's the cycle we're in that's really painful right now. it's why unemployment remains so high. so many consumers are worried about every little nickel and dime. so if you increase taxes, that's likely to happen. people would probably retrench, they'd save even more, be paying even more attention to what they're spending even on the basics. and that's what businesses are waiting for. businesses are waiting for people to actually start spending more again, a little bit more freely and that's, i think, what they're hoping can justify actually hiring more people again. but that's just not there. >> you have these two competing issues, though. on the one hand, you want to
stimulate the economy by putting more people in people's hands so they can spend it. but at the same time, you've got these enormous deficits, $1.5 trillion plus we've been running and you've got to increase revenues to get those down. how do you reconcile those? >> economists are very worried about that. for the long-term, you do have the deficit is this big cloud hanging over the health of the economy longer term. a lot of people do think, though, for the short-term, you probably need to do something you can even if it does add to the deficit to get the economy moving forward again. as a lot of people do point out, the deficit can kind of take care of itself if the economy improves to the type of level where people start spending again and you have all kinds of tax revenue going up. not just individuals, but corporate, as well. >> good to see you this morning. >> thank you. >> and for more on the cnn money economist survey and the money news that matters most, go to cnn.com. cnnmoney.com. go to cnn.com, and we'll get you anyway. >> and they'll be mad if we
don't say it right. and the military unit trained to spot dangerous storms to keep troops out of harm's way. our rob marciano got a high altitude view. and he introduces us to these air force weather warriors. that is straight ahead. it is 23 minutes past the hour. [ wind howling ] [ technician ] are you busy? management just sent over these new technical manuals. they need you to translate them into portuguese. by tomorrow. [ male announcer ] ducati knows it's better for xerox to manage their global publications. so they can focus on building amazing bikes. with xerox, you're ready for real business. so they can focus on building amazing bikes. i but i justve my 5 employcan't afford it.ance, i have diabetes. i didn't miss a premium payment for 10 years.
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most meteorologists spend their day in front of radar and weather maps. and if you think that life couldn't get any more exciting than that, we're about to introduce you to a little known group of the u.s. air force. meteorologists whose offices often times in the middle of enemy territory. >> it's a warrior weather squadron of sorts. say that 28 times. our rob marciano is here. good morning. >> good morning, guys. you know, throughout history, weather's played a huge impact on warfare via covert operation or d-day invasion. an accurate forecast is critical to a successful mission. and a good forecast requires good observations. or as the military likes to put it, good recon. i went to meet these tough guys. here in the florida panhandle is the special operations command and this is the tenth cws. combat weather squadron.
let's see what they do. >> in a hopeless attempt to have me fit in, they provided me with fatigues and safety gear. this is my country. special operations weather team. at least for a day. >> reporter: there's less than 100 in the air force. from world war ii to afghanistan, they've deployed on the battlefield. working with the army rangers, navy seals, and other special forces. their weather call and is environmental recon are key to a success. >> if you lock into the floor like this and the plane crashes, you grab this -- >> what is that about a plane crashing? >> we'll be off to the west of the airfield. >> reporter: today is jump day. >> sign off for equipment check. >> reporter: they rehearse on the ground what they'll do in the air. >> so we're on the tarmac now, they've got all their gear they would typically bring on a real
mission. this is the plane they're getting on. >> reporter: lieutenant general commands the squadron. >> how important is what you guys do to the overall mission? >> we do the collection part of weather. in other words, we go out into places that are either hostile, inaccessible to other troops, and we go and collect weather observations. we'll go and we'll assess a river condition. we'll do terrain. >> reporter: sometimes getting there requires a parachute. >> this is the main? >> please don't pull that. >> what's this? >> the reserve. >> reporter: loaded in the back of the c-130 are 18 soldiers. you want an accurate weather forecast on the battlefield? sometimes you've got to jump out of a plane. >> you ready back there? >> yeah, we're ready. >> one minute before they go out the back door, i legally can't jump. i'm not disappointed about that.
>> reporter: with the static line guys out at 2,500 feet, we climb higher and the spotters eye the next drop zone. >> six weather jumpers left, we're at 10,000 feet, they're going freefall. they're the ones who do it. >> what comes next is an adrenaline-filled minute, falling as fast as 200 miles an hour. deploy the chute and get on the ground asap. this could be hostile territory and the weather men have arrived. >> oh, yeah. an eye-opening experience to say the least. these guys are not the weather nerds i went to college with,
that's for sure. kind of rocket scientist meets rambo. and tomorrow we'll have the second part of the story and you'll get to meet the heroes out there getting an accurate weather forecast. >> can't we just find all that from a satellite? what are they getting we don't get through other means? >> well, nothing replaces good observations. and your weather forecast is only as good as those observations. but they do a lot more than just forecast weather. if you think about what the military does, these guys forecast avalanche. they go out there, assess a terrain. can we get over that mountain, through that pass? can we get through this river? they'll gauge whether or not you can get across a river. all things that are critical to a mission's success. >> they wouldn't let you jump, huh? >> no, i've done it before for the show and i would have loved to actually, not this go around, maybe next time. >> great report. looking ahead to part two tomorrow. crossing the half hour means it's time for this morning's top stories. hurricane igor roaring past the
coast of bermuda last night sending huge waves on to the island, knocking out power, uprooting trees. dangerous rip currents are posing a real threat. we'll get an update in a few minutes. an adrenaline-filled fight to bring a wildfire under control in utah. authorities think the fire started when national guardsmen were practicing with machine guns. now an entire mountainside is on fire. and people in at least 1,400 homes have been told to get out. so far no one has been hurt, but the fight to save these homes is far from over. and violence in iraq. authorities say two other bombs exploded in baghdad neighborhoods wounding seven iraqi soldiers and two civilians. the attacks come just a day after two car bombs killed at least 29 people in the iraqi capital. and home at last. american hiker sarah shourd released after 14 months in an
iranian prison says she is happy to be back but only feels 1/3 free. >> and that's because her fiance and her friend are still being held in iran accused of being american spies. and shourd is appealing to the iranian government for their release. cnn's susan candiotti is following developments for us this morning. >> sarah shourd is back in the united states, but her home coming is bittersweet. clutching her own mother's hand and staying close to the mothers of her two companions left behind, the freed american hiker called their arrest a big misunderstanding. >> we committed no crime and we are not spies. we in no way intended any harm to the iranian government or its people. if we were, indeed, near the iran/iraq border, that border was entirely unmarked and indistinguishable. >> reporter: iran's president ahmadinejad is in new york for the united nations assembly.
iran has promised to try the two other hikers on spy charges. can their release be negotiated? >> we're always prepared to talk, but under fair conditions and respectful conditions. if somebody thinks they can lie, order us around, or rule us and talk -- >> sarah shourd did not stray from a prepared statement and did not discuss her treatment. she appeared composed and vowed to work to free her two companions. >> and i stand before you today only 1/3 free. that was the last thing that josh said to me before i walked through the prison doors. >> shourd said doctors in oman have given her a clean bill of health, adding her spirit is bruised but not broken. john and candy? >> susan candiotti for us this morning. thanks. iran president mahmoud
♪ welcome back to the most news in the morning. no matter what you think of her, christine o'donnell has become the face of two powerful forces in politics these days. the tea party movement and the women's movement. o'donnell is one of five republican female candidates nominated for the senate in this cycle. suddenly this is no longer your father's gop. joining me now from washington, republican strategist leslie sanchez, kiki mclean, and patri patricia murphy. let me start out with you, leslie. this increase in republican female candidates. is it a palin wave? what brings it on this year?
>> well, there's a few different things. palin was certainly a catalyst. she opened the door and showed that women could pass the money test. but she is appealing to a very specific group of not only voters but also women who have decided to throw their hat in the ring. pro-life, e vvangelicalsevangel conservatives, they're newcomers, took advantage of many of these open seats. and they're evangelizing a lot of that base of folks who are concerned about the direction of government. >> well, kiki, newcomers is often code for outsiders who are very in these days. how much of is it about that? >> i think there's a good bit of it about that. it's an opportunity for people from the outside who haven't been part of the process. i sometimes think that drives it a little more than gender. what i think is interesting about the women on the ballot this year is we're having races now where you have women versus women. look at the california senate race, right? that's a great contest between two women. i think it's an opportunity for people to understand the role that women play in politics.
and let me build a little on something leslie said, and that's once people saw hillary clinton compete for president, saw sarah palin on the ticket, they saw the possibility. this is an opportunity for republicans. i think democrats have been a little ahead of the curve in terms of women out there running. we've got great women senators all across the country. and so it'll be interesting to see, i think if it's more about the outsider or the gender. i think it's more about the outsider. >> patricia, christine o'donnell, she's been the woman of the moment since last tuesday when she won that republican nomination in delaware. let me ask you because we have seen over and over this clip from bill maher's show where she talks about her high school dating experience and says she dabbled in witchcraft and said she had one of her first dates in one of those satanic things but never joined a coven.
do women get a rawer deal on the national stage? any way to quantify that? >> well, i think women -- it's two stories for women. i think that women sometimes get a rawer deal. there certainly is still quite a bit of sexism in the way that women are covered by the media, i think. and the way that sometimes men -- male candidates run against women. but there can also be a backlash against those men if they run too hard against these women. and i think christine o'donnell may be an example of that. she has to own those statements. she's the one who went on a date with a witch and dated on some sort of satanic alter. luckily that never happened to me. she has to own those statements, she was out there saying them. but i think when we saw the way the men came out against christine o'donnell, particularly republican men who came out against her right after she won, i think that has created quite a bit of this momentum we're seeing for her right now. and women, i think, are more sympathetic to that and saying, listen, men what are you so afraid of? let her run on the issues.
>> she raises a good point. and i think you can look at a bit of a pattern. you saw that happen to in south carolina to nikki haley, sharron angle in nevada. people can't understand where they come from. they're running their own regional campaigns. and to kiki's point, you're exactly right. think about how many women are competing against other women in new mexico, with susana martinez and certainly oklahoma. this is changing. there is a sea change with respect to these candidates and how much appeal they're drawing as good candidates. >> yeah. let me say, there is a very important warning flag here for republican women, though. your gender and being an outsider is not enough. patricia said something very important that christine o'donnell's going to have to own the things she said. you're talking about some republican women, sharron angle, christine o'donnell who made outrageous comments and substance matters. they're going to have to answer for those things and have an answer for the problems people
are facing. at the end of the day, people aren't going to bank on an outsider just for the sake of an outsider. they want an outsider with an answer. >> absolutely. >> although, i have one kind of quick point here. if you step back and look at what's happening in politics and women in general in the workforce. women are the majority of people coming out of med school, coming out of law school, the majority of ph.d.s, there's no reason women should be in a tiny majority. i think women across the board have more opportunities this year and i think it's a great thing for women across the borrowed. >> leslie, let me give you the wrap-up question. and that is the sort of overarching theme here. and that is that more women seem to be getting into politics. but still way behind. the number of women in the senate is in the teens. look, the population is over 51%. are we at a point where the percentages don't matter? or is there still a lot of work for a female candidate to be done? >> tremendous amount of work to do. i think we're very optimistic.
it's a record year of the number of women who have filed in house and senate. our big silver lining -- not only the senate races but the gubernatorial races. it's exciting for us because on the republican side, it is building that back bench of future leaders who could potentially be presidential candidates, move on to different things and it's really elevating the women who were behind them. we have a long way to go, but it's a very strong position to be in. >> leslie sanchez, kiki mclean, patricia, thank you for getting up with us this morning. the new darling from the tea party, christine o'donnell facing criticism for old comments. among them about witchcraft and the date she went on on a satanic alter. more ahead from the best political team on television. >> i never really thought in politics we'd be talking about witchcraft. nonetheless, cnn is also your hurricane headquarters. we are tracking hurricane igor as it bears down on the island of bermuda.
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47 minutes after the hour. let's get a quick check of this morning's weather headlines. rob marciano with us in new york this morning. >> good morning john and candy. let's look at hurricane igor. this thing, very, very large in its scope, tropical storm-force winds well over 300 miles from the center. the danger to the u.s., it's ongoing. and that is rip currents and heavy surf.
high surf advisory up and down the u.s. those swells are certainly causing big waves. just be careful if you're heading to the beach or if you live near the beach for sure. there's the forecast track, right now about 130 miles north of bermuda. excelling to the north. and tropical storm watches are posted for parts of newfoundland. we should see the last of igor here in a couple of days. there's more action in the tropics. a wave after the african coastline. this has a high probability of developing into something. remember karl? that went into mexico. the remnants of it, leftover showers into texas. and we've seen over 6 inches in corpus christi and brownsville in the last 24 hours. more rain is expected. love to get some of that rain in colorado and utah. battling that blaze south and west of salt lake city. critical fire danger again with red flag warnings posted. high winds and low humidity. that'll continue for today and for tomorrow. and around the rest of the united states, some cooler
weather sliding into the northern tier, even some frosty conditions possible in some spots across parts of upper new england. so seasons are achanging, that is for sure. guys? >> so the hurricane season is pretty active? >> very active and will continue to be active for the next couple of weeks. and even though we're watching these things out in the atlantic, this is the time of year where it can percolate in the gulf of mexico. >> and we've certainly seen some big hurricanes this time of the year in the past. it was 21 years ago tomorrow with hurricane hugo. >> hugo's a notable one. and a number of notable ones this year. >> we'll see you next hour. president obama attended church yesterday morning. that may not sound like a big deal to you, but his administration -- at least his image people have been looking with dismay at numbers showing that the number of people in america who think the president
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president obama's faith. in fact, you know, there was this new survey that came out in the summer that said 1 in 5 americans think that president obama is muslim, which is amazing given the fact there was all that controversy about his church in chicago, that really controversial christian pastor. well, he did attend church yesterday, he took communion, the church is right across the street. christine o'donnell seems to be in the spotlight and will continue to be in the spotlight. but this might be one of those situations where be careful what you ask for. she is taking incoming from both sides now, candy. taking incoming from the senate democrats. they are up with an ad right now questioning some of her past financial decisions. and then she's taking incoming from her own, karl rove has been very critical of her. said that she's not going to win delaware. and of course, there's controversial comments she made about how she dabbled in witchcraft. well karl rove has said that she
needs to answer those questions. i'll tell you, candy n the last half hour or so, christine o'donnell has tweeted, put out a message to karl rove. she said i did comment that if i were a witch, rove would be a supporter, i would have turned him into a newt because gingrich says we can win. perhaps she was talking about some of her super powers as a witch. let's close it up here with republicans. a republican party on a high. they're expected to pick up at least 30 seats from the house, perhaps more than 30, enough to take back control of that chamber, as well as a handful of seats in the senate. what's the direction of the party? we had social conservatives here in town over the past couple of days. they said don't forget about the moral issues. but as everybody will know, it's all about the economy of this election. and in fact, that is what has fueled the tea party and that whole movement, candy. >> so, mark, christine o'donnell tried to disarm this whole thing trying to use humor, which it's a very adept way of doing
things. but what's the sense among the folks who are going to have to campaign for all of these people and throw their support behind them? is she coming forward enough with what she said obviously was back in high school. and we all did a lot of silly things back in high school. but it's an unusual thing for a candidate to say. is there a sense there she does need to go further to clarify? >> yeah, i think it's one of these situations, john, where, look, the problem for her right now is it's actually on camera. and she emphasizes the fact she actually had done it and she's running as a social conservative. had it been me, you, someone else, perhaps she'd be able to get away with it. really what this is saying to the establishment republicans, she was a mistake. they're not happy she is the nominee. and what i expect we'll see from christine o'donnell, john, in the next few weeks leading into the election is she will just focus on delaware. she's going to focus on the social conservative voters and she'll talk to outlets, but they'll be friendly to her, perhaps socially conservative
radio shows or what have you, john. but i don't think we're going to be seeing her do a lot of national interviews. we saw just yesterday she canceled appearances on fox and cbs. that's where i think christine o'donnell's heading. >> thanks. we are going to check back in with mark next hour. and for all the latest political news, go to our website, cnnpolitics.com. top stories coming your way right after the break. don't you go away.
breaking news. bermuda waking up bruised from hurricane igor. high winds and heavy surf from the massive storm bearing down on the resort island. the american morning extreme weather team in place with the latest track and forecast straight ahead. good morning, thanks so much for being with us on this
monday, the 20th of september. i'm john roberts. good morning. >> good morning. this is kind of fun. >> it's great to have you here with us. >> great to be here. >> i'm candy crowley, kiran has the morning off. we will have the latest on hurricane igor in a second. but first, here are this morning's top stories. a successful seal. bp says it has permanently plugged the well in the gulf almost five months after the explosion that caused the worst oil spill in u.s. history. more than 200 million gallons of oil seeped into the water. she is a tea party rock star, but christine o'donnell may be rocking the boat with conservative voters that she'll need in november. we're digging deeper on o'donnell's remarks more than a decade ago about dabbling with witchcraft. jim acosta following that for us this morning. and a place where saving lives can cost lives. our kaj larsen with aid workers in pakistan. many of them no longer willing to help when the need is the
greatest because the taliban is turning them into targets. a cnn exclusive straight ahead. we begin the hour, though, with bermuda taking a beating from hurricane igor. got a live satellite loop of the storm roaring past the west end of the island, missing direct landfall by just 40 miles. of course, they got the worst part of the storm. the enormous system is generating huge waves, pummelling the islands with powerful winds and rain. 2/3 of the island has got no power right now. cnn's hurricane headquarters. rob marciano is tracking the storm. first, though, let's go to reynolds wolf. he's live in elbow beach, bermuda. and when you look at the track of that storm, the worst of the wind and waves looks like it hit the southern part of the island, which is where a lot of the resorts are. >> reporter: including elbow
beach, which is directly behind me which caught hell yesterday afternoon and during the evening hours and overnight. we've been following this system. this tropical system since back on september 8th. and the cnn weather alert team has seen this fluctuate in power from a minimal hurricane to a major hurricane. and within hours of it coming close to the island, part of the eye wall itself collapsed. and that caused the storm to be fairly weak. only category one as you mentioned. just west of this point. but still, we're in that northeast quadrant and that is the thing that helped bring in some of the heavy rainfall. the relentless wind and that pounding surf. we've got video to share with you and the rest of america that basically tells the story. the effects of that water coming onshore caused flooding in low-lying areas. the wind, a different factor altogether. one of the contributing factors that caused the widespread power outages across bermuda. some places may not get power restored in terms of weeks. roads are closed. on this specific property at
elbow beach resort, we've got trees down, a lot of branchs down. we spoke moments ago with the property manager, and he said that although there's been about 70% of the beach is now gone due to erosion, they came out just fine all things considered. coming with the storm this big, moving this closely. they really did luck out. let's send it back to you, john. >> reynolds, thanks so much. rob marciano has been keeping an eye on igor throughout the morning. i feel like igor's been with us for a month. >> he has. >> i'm sorry, i know it's fun to you, but good heavens. where is he headed now? and when does it dissipate? >> starting to pick up speed and becoming what we call extra tropical, which means just a northern atlantic storm. but nonetheless, still a hurricane with winds of 75 miles an hour. they had winds gusting to 93 miles an hour on that island of bermuda. and even though it's out there in hurricane country, it's a tiny island, they don't get direct hits very often.
this thing's so large it just was just a long-term event. you had tropical storm-force winds, almost over 24 hours long. and that just takes a beating on those trees, and that's why the power is out. here is the forecast track. now we're into the westerlies getting caught by the jet stream. it's now picking it up and throwing it out to sea. but tropical storm-force winds possible across newfoundland, canada. and all of those waves rolling into the east coast beaches. we've got heavy surf likely for the next 24 to 48 hours. and this is our next system off the coast of africa could very well become our next tropical depression if not tropical storm by the end of today. we'll talk more weather in just a little bit. guys, back over to you. >> thanks, rob. and we're able to e show you some of the best pictures and video, by the way, from the storm from our i-reporters. our i-reporters are always faithful in instances like this. if you've got video of breaking news, send it to us at cnn.com/i-report.
we are following breaking news this hour. a raging wildfire outside of salt lake city, utah. at this point, we've now learned 1,600 homes are directly in its path. city officials in herriman say it's absolute chaos. the national guard is helping in the fight. ironically, authorities believe national guardsmen firing machine guns at a firing range likely sparked the whole thing. this video is from one of our i-reporters. he's watching as the fire spreads toward his home. the flames are only a few miles away. and the smoke's so thick you can see a haze over the entire valley. we want to get a handle on what's happening out there. thank you so much, chief, for taking a few minutes out for what looks like a pretty horrific fire. what happened to it overnight? >> luckily for us, the fire has gone down, the winds have
lessened, and the temperatures have lowered. we're actively still fighting the fire. we have bulldozers that are out causing -- creating fire breaks as well as firefighters laying down foam and water as it approaches homes. so what we're worried about is the winds are going to shift with the canyon the morning canyon breezes. and so it's going to push the fire back towards some other homes. and so we're just nervous about that right now. >> and so is that your biggest worry this morning as you fight to contain this fire, the winds? >> it is. the winds are what hampered us yesterday. and they're going to switch and have -- they're going to blow in the opposite direction this morning. and so we're worried we've got some homes. the fire did some flanking on us last night. and so we're worried that it's going to come back on some homes this morning. >> and we've confirmed, at least you all have confirmed for us that four structures were
destroyed. overnight, was there any more damage? >> yeah, we have the four homes confirmed. we just had them threaten over the night. we actually made some pretty good stops. the winds did shift as a front came through. and posed imminent damage on probably 20 to 25 homes. we were able to stop the fire and knock it down before it got to those sturs. >> chief michael jensen out there in utah. we thank you so much for taking time out. hopefully we can check in with you again as you try to fight this fire. sarah shourd back home in the united states after spending 14 months in an iranian prison. she says her home coming is nothing to celebrate because her fiance, shane bauer and her friend josh fattal are still behind bars in iran, accused of espionage.
>> shane and josh do not deserve to be in prison one day longer than i was. we committed no crime. and we are not spies. we in no way intended any harm to the iranian government or its people, and believe a huge misunderstanding led to our detention and prolonged imprisonment. >> the remaining hikers' families have requested a meeting with mahmoud ahmadinejad who is in new york city for an assembly meeting. he has proposed an exchange with iranian prisoners held here in the united states as a humanitarian gesture. iran's president is going to be larry king's guest on wednesday night on "larry king live." bp says its ruptured oil well is now effectively dead. cement sealed the well over the weekend and so far tests conf m confirmed it's holding.
there's much to be done to repair the damage done in the gulf of mexico as well as to its shores. at 7:30, thad allen talks to us about rebuilding. to politics now and the tea party darling to captured delaware's senate primary last week may have explaining to do this morning. comedian bill maher dusted off an 11-year-old tape friday night from an old "politically incorrect." and christine o'donnell is on it confessing to an involvement with witchcraft. >> i dabbled into witchcraft, i never joined a coven. >> you were a witch? >> i didn't join a coven. >> i love this, you're a witch. you go on -- >> that's exactly why. because -- because i dabbled into witchcraft, i hung around people who were doing these things. i'm not making this stuff up. i know what they told me they
did. in one of my dates -- >> i want to hear about this. >> one of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and i didn't know it. >> your first date was a satanic altar. >> yeah, a little picnic on a satanic altar. >> the news journal has a quote from o'donnell saying "i was in high school. who didn't hang out with questionable people in high school?" karl rove not satisfied with response. he says america needs to know more about christine o'donnell. in 15 minutes time, jim acosta reports on the tea party and the religious right on the verge of becoming a match made in heaven. >> i still hang out with questionable people. >> although if it's a satanic altar -- thank you very much. i really appreciate that. >> a little joke here. little joke. and lady gaga is using social media to bring an end to the military's don't ask, don't
tell policy. she'll be trying to convince the state republican senators to vote yes tomorrow on a defense bill that authorizes a repeal of don't ask, don't tell. lady gaga is using her facebook page to publicize the rally. in flood ravaged pakistan, they need all the humanitarian aid they can get right now. but the number of aid workers is on the decline now that the p l taliban is making them targets. up next with the cnn exclusive. during its first year, the humpback calf and its mother
right after the game. they had just pulled off a trick play to beat notre dame in overtime with coach antonio started having chest pains. luckily the heart attack was minor and his doctors expect him to make a full recovery. >> still scary. and no time line for 33 trapped chilean miners. the newest drill can go through 93 feet of rock a day. >> even at 90 feet a day, don't forget, they're 2,300 feet beneath the surface. >> and they've been there -- are we closing in on a month or more than a month? >> they think it's about a month now. but that's still probably just a quarter of the way through their ordeal. in a country ravaged by catastrophic floods, help is hard to come by right now in pakistan. nations are promising millions of dollars in aid, but
humanitarian workers have become targets. one taliban leader hinting they are considered fair game. >> sorry, our kaj larsen has been bringing us stories from the most remote and dangerous parts of the country. he was embedded for weeks with foreign aid workers and has this cnn exclusive. >> reporter: there's over 100 registered international aid groups in pakistan. increasingly taking more and more security precautions. this is the u.n., it's like a fortress, armed guards, wire, walled compounds, that's just the reality of operating as a humanitarian here. tomas conan for doctors without borders has witnessed the growing threat. >> it's true. that pakistan is -- i can't say it's an easy environment. it's a difficult environment for workers to work with. there have been a number of security incidents not only on
the workers but on everybody and the civilian population. >> reporter: but it's not just pakistan. in conflict zones around the world, aid workers have gone from helpers to targets. in fact n the past three years, over 400 aid workers have been targeted or killed around the globe. and now pakistani taliban has specifically threatened aid workers helping with flood relief. increasingly aid groups are relying on locals to lower the risk. we met with a local pakistani who works for relief international delivering aid to flood victims. is it safer for you to operate? for you to provide the relief than for the western organizations? because you're local, you speak the language? >> yeah. they would be very attractive target. >> reporter: i looked at some of the damaged flood areas and talked security. >> what is the biggest concern for aid workers? >> well, i think it's the image of pakistan, which has a
confusing situation. the people are afraid that they will be harmed. >> reporter: and in fact, during our time when we did run into foreign aid workers, they were accompanied by armed security. protection the locals often do without. >> we've been working for 12 years in relief and development and i can definitely say that when we started if you're a relief worker, you had a certain amount of protection. >> reporter: so why is the humanitarian space shrinking? what makes it so difficult to be an aid worker these days? one theory is the blurring of the lines between traditional military and humanitarian operations. as the military becomes involved in more and more humanitarian ops around the world, the difference between a soldier and an aid worker is becoming fuzzier. increasingly in pakistan and other conflict zones, militants perceive military and aid
workers as one in the same, the enemy, which increases their risk as potential targets. >> a relief being provided, protected also with weapon is of course participating to the blurring of lines. >> reporter: a pakistani military base, we're about to go on a humanitarian aid food delivery mission. the ongoing flood crisis is a perfect example. the u.s. military is directly engaged in humanitarian operations in pakistan. >> i've never seen anything like it. water world is what somebody else called it. >> reporter: as we completed this military aid mission, i thought about the challenges facing traditional aid groups. >> the risks to come to actually help people to stand alongside people and communities who have lost so much is something that we're willing to take. >> reporter: in countries like pakistan, doing good has never been more dangerous. >> let's bring in kaj larsen.
he's with us here in new york this morning. humanitarian workers, we were talking about this during your piece, they used to be off limits. what's changed? >> yeah, that's absolutely true. it used to be that having a red cross plus on the side of your vehicle almost acted like a de facto bullet proof vest and you could practically drive through a fire fight. what's really changed is the perception of aid work as not being neutral anymore. and so more and more increasingly so, aid workers are being targeted in conflict areas. >> is your sense in this particular area in pakistan in these remote villages that this is also quite political. it probably goes without saying that the taliban doesn't want western forces in there helping people. >> yeah. that's absolutely true, candy. the taliban wants to be perceived as the group that's aiding people who are in need. and so any western aid workers, they already have an agenda for targeting them. now wanting to be perceived as
the helping ones in the region, this just increasing the risk again. >> you were in there with team rubicon, a group of ex-military who it's kind of like the a-team that goes into humanitarian crises the world over and does what a lot of ngos can't do. because of their military background, were they a particular target from the taliban? or did the taliban not want to mess with them? >> i'll tell you, john. what team rubicon did is increasingly what all aid organizations have to do, which is they have security procedures and operational security procedures to protect themselves. and whether you're with the u.n., whether you're with doctors without borders, what you're finding increasingly is that the aid has to be accompanied by a massive security apparatus. and again, this has the perception of contributing to this idea that they're not neutral actors. it's hard to deliver food when you're surrounded by armed guards. >> kaj larsen, great series of reports, and welcome back.
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to the most politics in the morning. just over six weeks until the midterm elections and conservative voters are reading the tea leaves. >> the rise of the tea party movement, which carried christine o'donnell to victory in the state of delaware is raising the prospects of a powerful political alliance. that was on display this weekend. at the values voters summit. our jim acosta is following that for us. and he's live in washington this morning. hi, jim. >> good morning guys. you know, they had one of those straw polls they often take at these conferences, political conferences. and check this out. look who won this weekend. indiana republican mike pence won over mike huckabee who won last year. and what's interesting about mike pence is not only has the support of christian conservatives, but the tea party movement, which is something that we saw on display this weekend sort of a joining of forces, if you will, of these two political movements that can
certainly do a lot of damage when it comes to winning elections. >> reporter: for conservatives, it could be a match made in political heaven. the nation's growing tea party movement joining forces with the religious right. >> would you like to alter your congress? >> in years past, the values voters summit staged this weekend in washington was a haven for social conservatives. but the speaker scheduled this year was packed with tea party rock stars. that say the summit's organizers was no accident. >> i think there's a natural alliance between social conservative voters and the tea party voters. i think if you were to poll people here, 99% of them have been to a tea party event. >> reporter: such an alliance would combine as value voters who helped george w. bush win two terms with the nation's fastest growing political movement. republican leaders in congress like indiana's mike pence see the potential. >> we've seen since the days of
ronald reagan that when we are united around a commitment of fiscal discipline, a strong national defense, and traditional moral values, that's when we experience the most success and we have the most impact on the life of the nation. >> reporter: conservatives point to delaware's republican nominee christine o'donnell as the perfect hybrid candidate. she's embraced by the tea party and social conservatives. >> they call us whacky, they call us wing nuts, we call us, we, the people. >> reporter: but o'donnell will have to explain to values voters what she meant when she said in 1999 that she experimented with witchcraft. >> i dabbled into witchcraft, i never joined a coven. >> you were a witch? >> i didn't join a coven. >> reporter: but there are some tea partiers who aren't ready to join forces. they insist their movement is simply about getting the nation's fiscal house in order. >> we've been very successful. and we are focused completely on the fiscal aspect of the economy. we're not focused on the social
issues. >> reporter: others argued tea partiers and christian conservatives were already a natural fit. take this mother and daughter. laurie slough worries about -- >> you lose sleep over the national debt? >> i'm serious, i do. >> her mother fay says she's a born again christian who doesn't believe that president obama is honest about his own faith. >> i'm a christian. he touts all the time, but when you get down to his actions, he elevates islam and he suppresses christianity. if you want to say death to america, vote democrat. >> reporter: you really believe that? >> absolutely. >> we should point out that the president and his family did attend church on sunday. a christian church. and the question in the end about these two movements joining forces, in many ways, they already are. the question isn't whether they're going to come together as a single political force. the question is whether or not
they can win. and getting back to christine o'donnell and her comments about witchcraft over the weekend. john and candy, i want you to know i did play dungeons and dragons in high school and i think i have the 20-sided di somewhere. >> i think if you're not playing now, you're fine. >> thanks, jim. just ahead at 7:40 eastern, we're going to talk with mike pence about winning that value voters straw poll and what it might mean for his future. and great news for the gulf over the weekend. bp says it sealed the leaky well for good. we have the lead commander for the gulf oil spill thad allen just ahead to tell us the bigger question about the damage that's been done.
crossing the half hour now. it's time for this morning's top stories. hurricane igor ripping up trees, knocking out power on the island of bermuda overnight. residents report enormous waves crashing under roads. the center of the huge storm passing just to the west of bermuda's coastline. dangerous rip currents, a big threat now at beaches from florida all the way up the east coast to maine. they are battling hard this morning to bring a wildfire under control in utah. authorities believe it started when national guardsmen were practicing with machine guns. now an entire mountainside is on fire. and residents in more than 1,600 homes have been told to get out. so far, no one's been hurt.
>> good news from the bottom of the gulf of mexico, bp says it has permanently capped its ruptured oil well. tests confirmed that the seal from the bottom kill operation is holding. it's been nearly five months since the first drop of oil spilled following that deadly explosion in the gulf. admiral thad allen is the man overseeing the efforts and the man who ultimately pronounced the well dead. great to see you this morning. thanks so much for joining us. there has been so much mistrust in the gulf both of bp and of the government. what assurances, admiral, can you give people along the gulf coast there that this well is, indeed dead? it's the last we're going to hear from it? >> well, john, we followed a very deliberate process. and, in fact, we stretched the time line out to make sure we did not take any risk at all that the well integrity would be compromised and that we did everything possible to make sure there'd be no hydrocarbons or oil in the gulf.
they'll totally blank the well out. but as of yesterday when the pressures held on the cement plug that was put in by the relief well, we can consider this well dead. >> are we any closer, admiral, to knowing what happened here? bp says when they tapped into the well, with that relief well, they found there was no oil or gas in what's cathe area that's surrounding the well casing, the pipe that's put down. the well casing and the surrounding rock. this wasn't a well design problem. do we know what caused it? >> well, i think the joint investigative team which has been panelled and they have the blow-out preventer and other evidence will have to determine that. we can did not know the condition, and that's been the big question mark. and that was the reason we need to come into the bottom with this relief well. but there were no hydrocarbons. >> is that an indication that it all came up from the bottom? didn't come in from the side like some analysts had speculated?
>> well, there are a lot of theorys and the investigative team will have to figure that out. a lot of people would tell you further down in the well, there was some sort of crossover between the casing pipe where it was cemented. i'm sure we're not going to know that until the investigative team has finished its work. >> as of friday, there was still 2,600 vessels out there, 2,500 people working on cleanup operations. how long will that process go on? >> as long as it takes to get the marshes and the beaches clean. we have detailed plans we've negotiated with the states and the parishes in louisiana. in some areas, we're going to stay with this for quite a while. they still have oil in them, we still need to work on it. and some of these places we're going to have to agree on when we agree nothing further can be done. but right now, we're still at it. >> admiral, big questions about the long-term effect of this oil spill and what they will be.
samantha joy who is a researcher from the university of georgia says they have found in the area around the well and to some degree an area extending out from the well that there is oil that has settled into the sea floor. it's buried itself 2 inches into the sediments. they're saying hey, there's lots of oil around the gulf of mexico, it might be that, no indication it's from the well. what do you say to the claims that there's so much oil in the gulf that it has actually settled into the sediments on the sea floor and could be affecting the eco system there? >> well, john, i don't think we can know too much about the gulf of mexico and the presence of hydrocarbons in the water column. the administrator and i have been working closely together over the last several months to develop a subsea oil monitoring program that we cannot only use for the recovery and response but also long-term restoration. what we really need to do is harness all the resources that the federal government and the state and local institutions,
including academia build a data base that can tell us more about the gulf. right now the readings we're taking don't show large concentrations. we're talking about microscopic particles of oil. our intention is to do testing out there. >> and admiral, bp has left open the possibility of drilling into the reservoir again. certainly there's an awful lot of oil beneath the sea floor there. but the question many people might have is after what happened with that well, is it a good idea to tap back into that reservoir? >> well, i think whether they tap back into that reservoir or not will be something between bp and the department of interior. that's a policy decision. frankly, it's above my pay grade. but through the joint investigative team and the reviews going on, not only deep sea drilling, but the response itself. there'll be a high level of assurance taken by the government before any decision is made. >> what's your personal sense of it after being involved so long? should they go back down there? >> well, i think we've got a lot
of problems with energy in this country related to fossil fuels and the need to move to other types of fuels, and this will have to be a balanced discussion taking in the need to have an energy policy moving forward as we transition to more environmentally friendly fuels. >> thad allen, you're with us until october 1st, then you're transitioning to private life? >> that's correct. >> thanks so much. >> thanks, john. >> he wouldn't like this, but he's become quite the diplomat since going down there. >> yes. coming up, though, we have mike pence. he is the people's choice, at least some of them. the indiana congressman was a surprise winner in a presidential straw poll. he joins us next. 37 minutes past the hour.
poll at the values voter summit this weekend. a meeting that in the process raised some questions about the marriage of the tea party and traditional christian conservatives. congressman mike pence joins us now from grand rapids, michigan. congressman, thank you so much. what are we to make of your victory? >> well, obviously, you know, when my family and i were walking out of the state game on saturday and we got the text message that we prevailed, we were honored by it and confidence expressed by people there, and we were humbled, but our focus remains. and i think the people's remains on the voters on november 2nd. we'll let the future take care of itself. but i think if anything connected to people last week, it was more the message than any particular messenger. and it's that the american people want to see this congress come back to the common sense and common values of the american people. >> congressman, there's some question this morning as to how
the agendas of christian conservatives and the tea party mesh with each other. i know you're a person who has gotten support from both sides. but the tea party by and large hasn't put moral issues at the forefront of its activism. it's been about fiscal conservatism, about the government. can those two things live comfortably together? or might the focus on moral issues, abortion, gay marriage not sit well with what the overall issue of the tea party message is? >> i hear that media narrative. but i've got to tell you when i was one of the folks leading the battle against the wall street bailout and then saw the emergence of the tea party movement that is still very much in full force today, i got to tell you, i've never seen tit. they're tired of run away federal spending under both political parties, they're tired of the deficits, bailouts, and
takeovers. but they also in my experience embrace the broad stream values of the american people. the commitment of sanctity of life and marriage. these are every day americans, many of whom have never been involved in politics before who are stepping to the forefront. yes, they're concerned about spending, but it's not just about getting spending under control. it's also about just getting back to common sense and common values. >> congressman, a question about christine o'donnell and all the republican choice for senate out of delaware. i'm sure you know that a new clip has come to the forefront showing her saying, well, she dabbled in witchcraft during high school. she's kind of pushed back and said, listen, who of us didn't hang around with questionable people in high school? but there have been other things about student loans and how she makes a living. do you have any misgivings about o'donnell as a candidate? >> oh, gosh. look, you know, it's really
something when bill maher becomes the vanguard of religion in america, isn't it? welcome to the silly season. look, you know, you ask me about last weekend and, you know, i don't think it was about me. i don't think delaware's about christine o'donnell. i don't think alaska's about joe miller as much as the message. and i know there'll be this nitpicking and attempts to take things out of context. certainly she has some explaining to do about that to her voters in delaware. but at the end of the day, what's bringing people out and creating a momentum for what could be real change in america is that the american people are tired of the borrowing, the spending, the bailouts, and the takeovers, and they're looking for men and women that are willing to stand up and be counted and take on the establishment. >> congressman, you said that bill maher is now the vanguard in the silly season. obviously he's having fun with this, he's a comedian. but other establishment republicans have rung in on this
too. karl rove yesterday very critical of christine o'donnell, saying she's talked about a lot of "nutty things," calling her background "checkered." and there are serious questions raised about miss o'donnell's background, character, statements, and previous actions. you said she needs to answer to the voters of delaware. but do you have any questions? or are you fully comfortable with everything you know about her? >> well, look, i don't vote in delaware. christine o'donnell, i think -- >> but at some point you might have to work with her. >> john, i think she was right yesterday to focus on communicating with her voters in delaware about what she said on that. and, you know, i think over -- again, i think we're in the silly season here. i think we're going to continue to see efforts, whether it's in florida or in alaska or in nevada or in delaware, or here in michigan. where we got people like tim wallberg, a strong conservative fighting to return to congress from battle creek. look, you're going to see an
effort, i think, by the left in this country to change the subject, to personalities away from the subject of the message, which is we've got to get this economy moving again. we've got to get spending under control, and that will require sending people to washington, d.c. that have the courage to stand up to the status quo and to put our fiscal house in order. >> congressman, a question about alaska. we have lisa murkowski, the sitting senator, a republican who friday said i'm going to run as a write-in. she, of course, was defeated by a tea party candidate in her bid for reelection for her own seat. do you think that she has basically by splitting the republican vote -- hasn't she just handed alaska to the democrats? >> well, look -- i don't think so. i think joe miller will still do fine up there. it feels a little bit like last night in the colts/giants game when the player threw his helmet into the stands.
look, senator murkowski, i've got a lot of respect for her, but look, the voters spoke in that primary, they chose a principled conservative in joe miller, and i expect he's going to be going to the united states senate on november the 2nd. >> mike pence, i clearly need to watch more football. thank you so much for being with us. >> good to see you this morning, thanks. still to come, rob is tracking the latest on hurricane igor. the storm kicking up dangerous rip tides this morning. his forecast coming up right after the break. 13 minutes now to the top of the hour.
to help build the jackson family a new home. well, i know if my dad was still around, he would have told me, with no doubt... he would have told me it's a no brainer and i knew that from the start. it was an honor. booming is moving forward by giving back. welcome back to the most news in the morning. and weather is the news this morning. hurricane igor now about 150 miles north of bermuda pounding that island with hurricane-force winds for a long period of time and about half the island without power. and they're assessing the damage right now. still tropical storm winds happening at this hour. there's the forecast track. it may skim newfoundland, but that's about it. but the waves and swells are going to pound the east coast for the next couple of days and rip currents will be a huge, huge issue. there's a disturbance out in the atlantic. we'll watch it carefully. it'll probably become a depression or tropical storm
here in the next 24 to 48 hours. hurricane karl pounding mexico, leftovers from that, 6 to 7 inches of rainfall already in corpus christi and brownsville, and more of those showers in texas today. dry conditions, and windy conditions that fire burning southwest of salt lake city, zero containment. red flag warnings and fire watches up for the next two days. cooler air trying to slide down across the northern tier. 79 in chicago and 75 in new york city. that's a quick check on weather. american morning is coming right back.
7 minutes to the top of the hour. back with the most politics in the morning. crossing the political ticker president obama making a direct appeal to a crucial voting bloc. >> mark pression is live in washington. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. who says the white house isn't engaged in the midterm elections. let me tell you about this story. an underreported story this weekend, president obama appeared before the congressional black caucus foundation, but he had a political message for them. he said you need to get out and
vote. go home, talk to your constituents, go to the barber shops, the churches, tell them we have work to do. it's no surprise and look, everyone understands that president obama needs to rally the democratic base, especially african-americans to help democrats in the midterm elections. moving on candy made news on her show. lisa murkowski who was the republican nominee or the candidate up in alaska, she was supposed to win nomination. however, she lost to the tea party favorite joe miller. she's going to run as a write-in candidate. she told candy yesterday, perhaps we can talk about it on the back end, she was the victim of a smear campaign by tea party activists. closing it out, lady gaga is getting political. that's right. the pop star is heading to portland, maine, holding a rally this afternoon to try to pressure the two main senators to support the idea of ending
"don't ask, don't tell," a crucial vote on that issue in the military happening this week in congress. john, candy. >> so mark, can we expect there to be a big fight in the midterm elections on "don't ask, don't tell"? mike pence who we talked to said earlier he thinks there needs to be a united front against the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." now you have a popular pop star up there in maine putting pressure on olympia snowe and susan collins. will it be a major issue? >> i think for republicans to try to energize the base, they talked about it this past few days here in washington, d.c., john. they need to get their voters out. for democrats, it's really not that big of an issue. for most democrats i should say, john. for democrats in the south, in the midwest, it could be a little bit of a polarizing topic. we'll see what happen democrats can get the 60 votes to overcome this republican filibuster in the next couple of days. john. >> mark, there has been a lot of
talk about whether, can this marriage survive between the tea party and the republican party. your sense is it agains on what republican you talk to here. particularly coming off that values voter summit. >> yeah. and you're right. and let's look at the two trains of thought at this point. is it about the economy or is it about social issues. it's about the economy right now, candy. the fact of the matter is voters are energized, they are angry, people are out of work, the economy is still in a depression. but will these social voters try to turn it to their way. so we'll see what happens, candy. it will be a fight past the election. >> mark preston, thanks. we'll check back with mark in the next hour and for all of the latest political news go to our website cnn politics.com. we'll be right back.
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good monday morning to you. thanks for joining us for the most news in the morning. it's the 20th of september. i'm john roberts g. morning to you. >> good morning. still standing. >> or sitting as the case may be. >> i'm candy crowley. kiran chetry is off this morning. the tiny island of bermuda battered by hurricane igor, trees were knocked down, thousands without power and the wind is whipping. reynolds wolf with the report from the hurricane zone ahead. >> the comments are more than a decade old but christine o'donnell's admission that she dabbled in witchcraft is causing new concern among republicans just as the religious right is wooing the tea feert form a powerful political alliance. >> and the place where saving lives can cost lives, our kaz larsen in pakistan, many no longer willing to help at a time
when the need is greatest because they are human targets. >> and the blog is up and running. join the live conversation going on, go to cnn.com/amfix. >> it's a bruising night for bermuda, the center of hurricane igor went past the coast. igor was enormous, generating huge wave, pummeling the island with winds and rain. >> cn, your hurricane headquarters. rob marciano will tell us where it's heading next. first, though, let's go live to reynolds wolf in elbow beach, bermuda this morning. reynolds, looks like the wind is beginning to die down. >> reporter: absolutely. the wind is beginning to die down a little. we're still having tropical storm force winds coming through, also rain is beginning to fall. we had a break for 15 to 20 minutes, but you know how these work, it's one of the on and off processes as the bands move to
the north. the situation here at elbow beach is similar to other places around the island. there's lots of tree damage, roof damage in some places, the waves which were tremendous yesterday, of course last night, and some this morning, are beginning to subside a little but not before causing flooding around parts of the island. let's talk about things not working. we have power outages across the island. two-thirds of the population without power. another issue we have, tree damage throughout the island knocking down some of the power lines. as i reported some extensive roof damage, windows damaged throughout much of the island. so certainly it's going to take time to clean up. there's a lot of things not working. what is working, though. we do have some power in some places and thankfully people are going to get up and start restoring things. in some cases it may take a while in some remote areas to restore power. back in 2003 we had fabian it took up to three weeks in some
locations. what we've been seeing here at elbow beach, most of the beach, 70% is gone. that's what we're told by management this morning. there is some damage, structural damage, but here's the key phrase. from what the manager told us everything here is manageable. that's the situation around much of the island, guys. there were thankfully no fatalities, no major injuries, people did go to the emergency shelters but considering just a few days ago this was a very strong hurricane and weakened before landfall it could have been much worse before passing off to the north. back to you in new york. >> reynolds, this isn't the first hurricane you covered. we saw it kind of igor moving toward it. it looked huge and powerful. then it seemed to die down though it stayed pretty big. compare this to other hurricanes. was this basically a battering but not huge for bermuda? >> reporter: well, i'll tell you. the only thing locals really
compare it to is what happened back in 2003 with fabian. what i can tell you from personal experience it's really not the strength of the storm. it wasn't that strong compared to other hurricanes that we've dealt with. but the thing is the difference maker, not the power but simply the duration. it was such a big storm moving so slowly, so this island was -- or the bermuda islands, subtded to a pounding for at least 24 to 36 hours. it's not over yet. >> reynolds wolf in bermuda. >> rob is keeping an eye on igor. is anybody really in harm's way? >> i think the newfoundland may see tropical storm force winds but it's the shipping lanes. the size of this thing immense. over 340 miles the radius of the tropical storm force winds, you want to compare it to a u.s. hurricane of recent history, compare to the ike. that was a huge storm and pretty much they have the same sort of winds when this came ashore. now it's about 200 miles north
of bermuda accelerating at about 20 miles an hour, that will continue to be the case as it gets picked up in the jet stream. skirting the coast of newfoundland with tropical storm force winds but the core of the storm will head off to the north and east. actually to greenland. some of the waves, a lot of those, propagating westward toward the u.s. we've seen pounding surf all the way from georgia and florida to maine. we're going to see heavy surf and rip current potentially dangerous for the next couple of days. this could be a dangerous situation, our next tropical disturbance could develop into a depression or tropical storm. it's that time of year. back over to you. >> rob, good to see you here. developing in utah this morning, a mountain size surrounded by smoke and flames. a wild fire is burning out of control outside salt lake city. soldiers were training when one of the rounds sparked dry brush. it spread so quickly crews couldn't contain it. winds are making it
unpredictable. the guardsmen are helping. 1600 homes are under evacuation orders. >> also new, bp says its ruptured oil well in the gulf of mexico is finally ultimately dead. and the cement poured into it over the weekend seems to be holding at this point. now there is a matter of more than 200 million gallons of oil that spilled into the water. i asked the lead commander thad allen about the threat of long-term pollution. >> so the well is dead but the response goes on as of friday there were 2600 vessels throughout, 25,000 people working on cleanup operations. how long is that process going to go on? >> well, it's going to go on as long as it takes to get the marshes and the beaches clean. we have detailed plans that we've gornted with the states and the parishes in louisiana, to determine if you will how clean is clean. and in some areas we're going to stay with this for quite a while t. marsh areas in the bay by
south pass have oil, we need to work on it. some places we're going to have to negotiate when we agree there can be nothing further done we'll say that's it. right now we're still at it. >> president obama stressed that the focus should be on repairing and rebuilding the communities that were affected by the disaster. coming up she's the newest face in the tea party movement but christine o'donnell may have explaining to do to her fellow conservatives after comments of dabbling in witchcraft. a live report ahead. logistics makes the world work better. ♪ when it's planes in the sky ♪ ♪ for a chain of supply, that's logistics ♪ ♪ when the parts for the line ♪ ♪ come precisely on time ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ a continuous link, that is always in sync ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ carbon footprint reduced, bottom line gets a boost ♪
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welcome back to the most politics in the morning. just over six weeks till the mid termts. the tea party movement carried christine o'donnell to victory and the rise of the tea party is raising the prospects of a powerful alines that was on display at a political conference this weekend. jim acosta is live in washington for us. >> reporter: good morning. at these submits they often have straw polls. there was at the values voter summit and a surprise winner, mike pence, the republican from indiana. what's interesting about mike pence he beat mike huckabee, last year's winner. pence has the support not only of tea party activists but religious conservatives, two movements finding out they have a lot in common. conservatives it could be a match made in political heaven.
nation's growing tea party movement joining forces with the religious right. >> would you like to alter your congress? >> reporter: in years past the values voters summit staged this weekend in washington was a haven for social conservatives, but the speaker schedule was packed with tea party rock stars that say the organizers was no accident. >> i think there is a natural alliance between social conservative voters and the tea party voters. i think if you were to poll people here 99% of them have been to a tea party event. >> reporter: such alines would combine as values voter who helped george w. bush win two terms with the fastest growing movement. republican leaders like mike pence see the potential. >> we've seen since the days of ronald reagan when we are united around a commitment of fiscal discipline, a strong national defense and traditional moral values that's when we experience the most success and have the
most impact on the life of the nation. >> reporter: christine o'donnell as the perfect hybrid candidate for both movements. embraced by the tea party and sorl conservatives. >> they call us wacky, they call us wing nuts. we call us we the people. >> reporter: o'donnell will have to explain what she meant when she said in 1999 that she experimented with witchcraft. >> i dabbled. >> you were a witch in. >> i didn't join. let's get this straight. >> reporter: there are some who aren't ready to join forces. they insist their movement is about getting the fiscal house in order. >> we have been very successful and we are focused completely on the fiscal aspect of the economy. we're not focused on the social issues. >> reporter: others argue tea partiers and christian conservatives were already a natural fit. take this mother and daughter. lori worries about the national
debt. >> i lose sleep over it. >> reporter: you lose sleep over the national debt. >> i'm serious. i really do. >> reporter: her mother says she is a born-again christian doesn't believe president obama is honest about his own faith. >> i'm a christian. he touts all the time but when you get down to his actions, he elevates islam and he suppresses christianity. if you want to say death to america, vote democrat. >> you believe that. >> absolutely. >> the question in the end is not whether the two movements are joining forces in many way they have. many of the tea party candidates are also religious conservatives. the question is whether they can win. and we should point out that president obama in reference to the lady's comment at the end of the piece, he did go to church this weekend and it was an episcopal church by the white house. >> almost everything political in this midterm time. we want you to stay with us.
coming up in less than 15 minutes we'll break down the political stories of the day includingment obama hitting the campaign trail with our senior political editor mark preston. >> breaking down a heated debate that captured attention, the bush tax cuts, where everyone stands and what it means for "your bottom line." that's straight ahead. to save me a boatload of money on my mortgage -- that would be awesome! [sarcastically] sure. like that will happen. don't just think about it.
♪ 17 minutes after the hour. we have 110 days until the bush tax cuts are set to expire and the debate over whether to extend them has absolutely consumed capitol hill. the strongest impact will certainly be felt in the bank accounts of millions of americans. >> minding your business this morning, cnn money's paula monica, president obama suggesting that the tax cuts should expire only for the richest 3% of taxpayers but there are those who say that may not be the best idea. so, is it? >> yeah, we surveyed 31 leading economists and majority, 18 of them said that their top
priority if they were a washington policymaker would be to extend the tax cuts for everyone. >> in terms of extending the tax cuts, what that does for the economy, run the numbers for us. you have an example. >> yeah. you have a middle class family, $75,000, two children, you would have about $2600 in higher taxes if the cuts are not extended. >> so for the average family that's a lot of money. particularly in these hard economic times. >> yeah. >> you are worried about am i going to keep my job, should i buy that or not to get hit with an extra bill of $2600 is substantial. >> i think that's why there is urgency to get something done. it seems the main issue is just whether or not to extend them for everyone or to exclude the wealthiest top percent of the country. a lot of people both democrats and republicans think that extenldsing it for the middle class is obviously the right thing that has to be done. particularly in these tough times. >> the tax cuts are already in
place, so i'm going to assume that keeping them doesn't really change the job market, it simply -- the argument is things will get worse. >> exactly. it's similar to two years ago when the financial crisis was really first starting to take hold, a lot of things that washington or you know, is hoping to do right now is preventing the economy from deteriorating further. we had obviously hopes of a recovery earlier that started to fade this summer. that's worrying a lot of people on obviously in washington and on wall street. >> you look at the calculation, palm, you have the rock and your hard place. the rock being you want more money coming in to the economy itself so you want to put more money in the pockets of people, particularly when you look at unemployment over 9%. but then at the same time you have these deficits that are running at a frightening rate. >> yes. >> of a trillion-plus dollars a year. so you got to bump up the revenue but you want to keep your money coming in. how do you reconcile that
calculation? >> that's very difficult. it's the classic short-term versus long-term solution that people are trying to weigh. what is more important. a lot of people that we have spoken to at cnn money say washington has to do everything in their power to help the middle class extending the tax cuts is likely something that can do that even though it could add to the deficit in the short-term. the hope, and admittedly it is something that could bear out over time but you don't know for certain is that if the economy starts to finally pick up steam and consumers spend more, primarily because maybe they aren't getting this bigger tax hit the deficit could help take care of itself because a stronger economy leads to higher tax revenue from not just individuals but businesses. >> thanks for breaking it down. >> thank you. for more on the cnn money economist survey and the money news that matters most go to cnn money.com. >> 1700 people died, 200 homes damage ordinary destroyed but help is increasingly hard to
come by in pakistan. aid workers finding themselves targeted by the taliban. a cnn exclusive. we've got that report coming up next. ♪ [ male announcer ] progress. progress for new york city cab drivers, like ossman ali is being able to carry people, who aren't carrying cash. meaning more convenience for passengers, and more business for cab drivers. all thanks to the ease and freedom of visa digital currency. now that's progress. visa. currency of progress.
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24 minutes after the hour. a country ravaged by flooding help is hard to come by right now in pakistan. nations are promising millions of dollars in aid but humanitarian workers suddenly finding themselves targets. >> one taliban leader suggesting they are fair game. koz larsen was embed for weeks with foreign aid workers and has this cnn exclusive. >> reporter: there's over 100 registered international aid groups in pakistan. they are taking more security precautions. this is the u.n., like a fortress, armed guards, wire, walled compounds, it's just the
reality of operating as a humanitarian here. a 13 year veteran has witnessed the growing threat. >> it's true still that pakistanis, i can't say it's an easy environment. it's difficult for workers to work with. they have been numbers of security incidents, not only on aid workers but the civilian population. >> reporter: it's not just pakistan. in conflict zones around the world aid workers have gone from helpers to targets. over 400 aid workers have been target ordinary killed. and now pakistani taliban have specifically threatened western aid workers helping with flood relief. increasingly, aid groups are relying on locals to do the work to lower risk. we met up with amir over tea. a local pakistani who works for relief international, delivering aid to flood victims. is it safer for you to operate,
for you to provide the relief than the western organizations because you're local, you speak the language? >> yeah. they would be a target. >> reporter: i looked at some of the damaged flood areas and talked security. what is the biggest concern for aid workers? >> i think it's the image of pakistan which has led to quite a confusion, confusing situation. the people are afraid they will come they will be harmed. >> reporter: during our time with aamir when we did run into foreign aid workers they were accompanied by armed security. on the 1 years in relief and development i can say that when we started relief worker, you had a certain amount of protection. >> reporter: why is the humanitarian space shrinking? what makes it so difficult to be
an aid worker? one theory is the blurring of the lines between traditional military and humanitarian operations. as the military becomes involved in more humanitarian ots the difference between a soldier and aid worker is becoming fuzzier. increasingly in pack is stand and conflict zones aid workers one in the same, the enemy which increases their risk as potential targets. >> you have relief being provided but protected also with weapon, it's participating to the blurring of lines. >> reporter: pakistani military base about to go on a humanitarian aid food delivery mission with the u.s. marine corps. the ongoing flood crisis is a perfect example. the u.s. military is directly engaged in humanitarian operations in pakistan. >> i've never seen anything like it. water world is what somebody
called it. >> reporter: we completed this military aid mission i thought about the challenges facing traditional aid groups. >> the risk to come actually to help people to stand along side people and communities cost so much is something that we're willing to take. >> reporter: in countries like pakistan, doing good has never been more dangerous. >> kaj is back and with us in the studio. if you look back over history, humanitarian teams traditionally off limits. how do they become fair game? >> i think part of the answer is there has been a shift in the nature of conflict. conflicts used to be fought between large nation states and now they are actually being fought between non-state actors so humanitarian groups are like you said more fair game. that's unfortunate because they are trying to deliver aid. >> there's politics involved, too, with the reason the taliban, for instance, would be targeting these workers makes
them look better. >> absolutely. this is a story i've been tracking over several years, when i was in yemen, i was in afghanistan, in somalia, i noticed this trend line of the humanitarian space getting smaller and smaller, becoming more difficult for these aid workerings to operate. i think pakistan and you saw that with the recent threats by the taliban, is on the brink of becoming the next hot spot for humanitarian workers. >> did you see taliban or you heard the stories? >> we heard lots of stories and we were actually restikted from going to many areas because the threat was too high. >> what's the answer here? do you just fly over and drop stuff? you know because people need help. >> yeah. that is the crux of the problem. there is no perfect solution, there is no panacea here but the real dilemma is the pair 0 dox is in the places where the people need the most help those are the most difficult areas because the situation in pakistan with the floods being a perfect example. >> it was a great series of
stories you brought to us at a level we had not seen. looking forward to your next assignment wherever in the world that might be. >> thank you. >> thanks so much. we're crossing the half hour now. time for the top stories. a fierce battle under way to save hundreds of homes in the utah mountainside near salt lake city. authorities believe a raging wild fire started when guardsmen were practicing with automatic weapons. a mountain side is on fire and residents in 1600 homes are told to evacuate. >> bp says it's permanently plugged its ruptured well almost five months after the explosion that caused the worst oil spill in u.s. history. crews successfully completed the bottom kill operation pumping mud and cement in the well. >> hurricane igor knocking out power on the island of bermuda. residents report enormous waves crashing onto roads, the center of the storm passing to the west
of bermuda's coast overnight which put the island in the worst part of the storm. >> it did. it took damage, the rain is still coming down and the winds still whipping this morning. reynolds wolf is live in elbow beach, bermuda this morning. reynolds, have you been able to survey the damage? >> reporter: from what we've been able to see, we have seen quite a bit of tree damage, some tile damage that we heard throughout -- pardon me, folks. there we go. thought we had tree branch coming this way. there have been reports of roof damage, a lot of window damage throughout much of the island. but here on these grounds the biggest thing really has been way down to the beach, 70% of the beach washed away. the proprietors here at this resort tell us that a lot of that will come back naturally and all things considered, for the duration of the pounding, this area receive bid the strong winds and waves they really -- they are fortunate and said that all of the damage is manageable.
>> water is okay? i'm assuming so the biggest problem sounds like electricity? >> reporter: electricity is definitely the biggest problem. with 67,000 residents, about two-thirds are without power this morning so they are waking up without power. back in 2003, they had a storm that followed a similar path. it was a smaller storm but with stronger wind speeds, referring of course to fabian. fabian caused parts of bermuda to be without power up to three weeks. i have to tell you this area was founded in 1609 by sailors trying to get to virginia, and they settled here. i can tell you from 1609 to present day they know how to handle these tropical systems. they were well prepared, they were willing to accept the damage from the tree, the roof damage and the shattered windows, blocked roadways. it goes with the territory, so to speak. some of the flooding that we had along the coastline is caused by some of the nine to 12-foot waves that pushed by the wind you're going to have that.
that's water is now since receded which is good news. there are other issues in terms of the main causeway in bermuda. that's shut. the airport is closed. when the winds subside, what they will do is take a team of engineers out by the causeway and check fort structural damage. if it appears sound, they will open it back up. and hopefully thereafter the airport. >> reynolds wolf doing yeoman's service in bermuda. sarah shourd who spent more than a year in prison is back on u.s. soul but her heart is in iran. >> her fiance and friend are being held accused by the iranian government of espionage. she is appealing to the iranian government on humanitarian grounds. susan candiotti is following the latest developments. >> reporter: john and candy, sarah shourd is back in the united states but her homecoming is bittersweet.
clutching her own mother's hand and staying close to the mothers of her two companions left behind, the freed american hiker called the arrest a big misunderstanding. >> we're not spies. we in no way intended any harm to the iranian government or its people. if we were indeed near the iran/iiraq border that was unmarked an indistinguishable. >> mahmoud ahmadinejad is in new york. he has promised to try the hikers on spy charges but has not offered evidence that they were up to no good. can their release be negotiated? >> we're always prepared to talk but under fair conditions and respectful conditions. if somebody thinks that they can like order us around or rule us, and talk, that wouldn't work. >> reporter: sarah shourd did
not stray from a prepared statement and did not discuss her treatment in one of iran's prisons. she appeared composed and vowed to work to free her companions. >> i stand before you today only one-third free. that was the last thing that josh steed me before i walked through the prison doors. >> reporter: shourd says doctors have given her a clean bill of health adding her spirit is bruised but not broken. john and candy. >> susan candiotti, thank you. a rift is forming among some republicans after the tea party knocked out several established candidates. what's the direction of the party? we've got the best political team on television up next.
welcome back to the most politics in the morning. crossing our political ticker president obama plays the role of chief fund-raiser. >> mark preston is live in washington for us with that and other news. good morning, mark. >> good morning. last hour we talked how president obama went to the black caucus dinner and tried to rally lawmakers to get the constituents to get to the polls in november. this week he's on a campaign trail as is vice president joe biden. president obama will be in pennsylvania and new york city this week, raising money for democrats and democratic candidates, meanwhile, vice president biden will be in ohio, in massachusetts, in maryland and will close the week in florida raising money for
democrats. moving along, christine o'donnell, a name you'll hear more and more, she is the new rock star of the republican party. somesome would call her a liability. she's taking it from both sides. she's taking it from senate democrats who have a new ad up questioning her fiscal decisions in the past, she's taking it from karl rove for comments regarding witchcraft and o'donnell addressed the rove criticism. let me read you what she wrote on twitter a few hours ago. i did comment that if i were rich rove would be a supporter. i would have turned him into newt gause gingrich says we win. referring to newt gingrich who thinks that o'donnell has a shot in the delaware senate race t. republican party is on a surge, they are expected to do very well in november.
they are expected to perhaps take back the house of representatives and pick up several seats in the senate. the question is what direction is the party going into? the tea party express pushed this economic message which played well with an electorate upset by the economy but you have your moral voters, your social conservatives who are upset that those issues are not addressed. so, the party is certainly in a quagmire when it comes to its direction. john, candy. >> i talked to some republican -- top republican people on capitol hill last week. they said there's always civil wars in a party that's out of power. that's what you do running up to the next presidential election, mostly those wars get settled when you pick a presidential candidate. he becomes the head of the party. is that basically pretty solid theory? >> yeah. it is. and look, the republican party, candy, is not going to abandon the idea that they are against abortion. i'll tell you this issue of gay
marriage, though, is really starting to split apart the party. the problem for the republican party is that there is no leader and there has been no leader, of course since president bush left office. and we won't get a nominee until 2012. so the republican party has to work out issues. having said that they are in a great position, if we were talking back in 2009, february, they were in a terrible position. so, by and large the republican party is doing okay. >> mark preston for us this morning from washington. thanks so much. looking exercised this morning. >> he is. >> wonder if there are calls to test christine o'donnell to see if she is a witch. >> my guess -- >> put her on a scale with a duck maybe? >> okay. notice that i have no comment on that. >> lady gaga using social media to pressure congress. she's going to be at a rally in portland, maine trying to convince the state's two
republican senators to vote yes tomorrow on a defense bill that authorizes a repeal of don't ask don't tell, using her facebook page to publicize the rally. thousands of her fans responding, indicating thumbs up, they like it. reminder for the latest political news go to cnnpolitics.com. >> army rangers, navy seals, some of the highly trained people in the armed forces. military meteorology? we'll show you how they use their knowledge of storm systems to protect fellow troops.
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44 minutes after the hour. most meteorologists spend their day in front of radar and weather maps. if you think that life couldn't get more exciting than that, we're about to introduce you to a little known group of the u.s. air force. >> they are meteorologists whose office is oftentimes in the middle of enemy territory. our rob marciano is here. he got a frightening close look. >> i heard about these guys over the years but never saw them or read much about them. that's the idea, they don't want to be too well known. throughout history weather, it's played a huge role in warfare whether it's covert operations, an accurate forecast is critical to a successful mission a. good forecast requires good observations or good recon, as the military says. to meet these military tough guys and see what they do.
>> here in the florida panhandle the air force special operations command. and this is its ncws, combat weather squadron. let's see what they do. >> in a hopeless attempt to have me fit in they provided me with fatigues and safety gear. this is my country. special operations weather team. at least for a day. there is less than 100 saudis in the air force. they deployed on the battlefield working with the likes of the army rangers, navy seals and other special forces. their weather call and environmental recon, are key. >> if you lock in and the plane crashes, this is how you get out of it. grab this. pull this. >> what is that about plane crashing? >> we'll be off to the west. >> today is jump day.
>> equipment check. >> sound off for equipment check. >> they rehearse on the ground what they do in the air. they have all of the gear, typically that we bring on a real mission. this is the plane. lieutenant joe benson controls the squadron. how important is what you do to the mission? >> most what if we do is the collection part of weather. in other words, we go out into places that are either hostile, inaccessible to other troops and we collect weather observations, we'll go and we'll assess a river condition, we'll do terrain. >> sometimes getting there requires a parachute. >> this is the main. >> don't pull that. that's reserve. >> loaded into the back are 18 special operations weather soldiers, you want accurate forecast of the battlefield, sometimes you got to jump out of a plane. >> are you ready back there?
okay. >> one minute before they go out the back door. i legally can't jump. not disappointed about that. >> all clear. >> with the static line guys out at 2500 feet we climb higher and the spotters eye the next drop zone. >> six weather jumpers left. these are going free fall. they can go as high as 30. the forecast behind enemy lines, they are the ones to do it. >> you guys rock. what comes next is an adrenalin-filled minute falling as fast as 200 miles an hour. deploy the chute, and get on the ground asap.
this could be hostile territory, and the weathermen have arrived. >> eye opening experience to say the least. these are not the nerds that i went to school with. kind of a rocket scientist meets rambo type of warrior. pretty cool stuff. tomorrow we'll delve into more what they do on the ground. it's pretty detailed. you asked candy, can we get this from satellites and weather type instruments, well, not really. in all -- a lot of what they do is more than weather ops. they have to figure can we get over a mountain pass, can we get across a river, things important to a military mission but you and i don't think about. >> carrying a gun like that nobody is going to complain about the weather. you might consider that. >> i might. that's a good idea. especially down the streets of new york. >> exactly. thanks so much, rob. appreciate it. black families in america facing a wealth gap, earning less, saving less, leaving less for their kids. the numbers are discouraging.
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when it comes to making and saving money in this country, there is a huge gap in wealth 12 blacks and whites. >> blacks typically have less than one quarter of the wealth enjoyed by the average american family. stephanie elam is here with a special black in america report. >> yeah. it's really disturbing, actually. something as a business correspondent i know about but i also happen to be black. you look at the numbers, there is a huge problem with the way black people are preparing for retirement. we found one family who is trying to make sure they don't fall into the same situation. chris rock has joked about black people and their money. >> shaq is rich.
the white man that signs his check is wealthy. wealth is passed down from generation to generation. >> there is a sad truth in his humor. black people tend to make less, save less and pass less on to the next generation than their white counterparts. if you don't have assets you can't pass them on. >> amen. >> marvin and kathy are making sure their family doesn't follow the same pattern. >> one or two bad moves and it's going to follow you. >> married nine years they started planning well before welcoming 6-year-old kaylin and 3-year-old miles. >> how is this a fair fight. >> we knew we had to invest because we knew one day we were going to have kids. and we wanted our kids to have more than what we had. >> the dickersons paid off debt, began investing and set up a will, a trust and 529 plans to
pay for their kids' college educations. >> we can pass that wealth or those assets on to our kids with a $1.5 million tax exemption. >> but this family is the exception. according to the brookings instituti institution, the median net worth of black americans is $28,000. compared to $140,000 for the median household nationwide. >> what were your parents saying to you to make sure it was so important that you knew it? >> you work, you save. >> while marvin is a spender kathy is a save sore the couple makes all big financial decisions together. >> kathy had this guiding principle. she spent $100 she got a headache. as we got married and had more resources you can add another zero. it was like a few thousand dollars. >> valerie coleman morris who focuses on financial literacy for women and people of color points to a couple of reasons that black americans are so
behind in creating wealth and passing it on. >> money is still an off limits topic in the average family. in african-american families it's almost taboo t. 401(k) we are not participating. when we do we're contributing far less. in addition to that, there is this overwhelming need for becoming more financially literate. and we aren't. >> not talking about rich, i'm talking about wealth. >> it's more than talk for the dickersons. it's a way of life. >> so, as you saw valerie coleman morris talks about how you can talk about your finances now or fight about them later. that's part of the problem, a lot of black families it's a taboo topic. they do not talk about wealth. that needs to change. it's a cultural shift. there are a couple of reasons why this is like this. and candy and john, you look at it the unemployment rate for black americans is always higher than it is for white americans.
>> 15%. >> it's 50%. the unemployment rate for black people is 50% higher than it is for white people so therefore if you're not working all the time, not bringing in money, not part of 401(k)'s, that leads to a chronic problem. it's got to change. >> stephanie, thanks so much. fighting a financial crisis. the black church is now waging a war on debt. almighty debt. a black in america special. guarantee me the best deal on my refinance loan, or pay me $1,000? that would be nice, not getting swindled. um...where are we?